Winter Rye as a Preceding Cover Crop for Pinto Bean Production in North Dakota
Extension Cropping Systems Specialist
North Dakota ranks first in U.S. pinto bean acreage. Production is primarily with conventional-till soils, which are susceptible to erosion. A four-year field study was conducted by North Dakota State University at Carrington to establish winter (cereal) rye as a living ground cover in the fall and spring prior to pinto bean production, providing benefits including protection from soil erosion and aid in weed management. Study objectives include: measure bean seed yield with winter rye as a preceding cover crop, determine optimum time for terminating rye based on bean planting date, and assess weed control. Winter rye was planted as a cover crop during early fall and pinto bean was planted into rye residue or live plants during late spring of the following year. Treatments (including a conventional-production check) were based on timing of rye termination with glyphosate, ranging from 36 days before to 11 days following bean planting. Soil-applied herbicides were included in selected treatments to compare weed control with rye. Bean seed yield with winter rye terminated 16-36 days before planting averaged 1,705-1,855 lb per acre and was statistically similar to the conventional check. Yield was reduced 22-35% with rye terminated near or after planting compared to yield with preplant terminated rye. During each year, topsoil moisture was reduced by delaying rye termination until near or after bean planting, and rainfall to replenish topsoil moisture was less than normal, reducing the timely establishment of bean plants. Ground cover generally was greater with delay of rye termination near or after planting compared to the conventional check or preplant termination of rye. Grass and broadleaf weeds generally had similar control with the use of soil-applied herbicides and when rye termination was delayed until near or after planting. Weed control generally was reduced with early rye termination without soil-applied herbicide as the lack of live rye allowed weed presence earlier in the season. The study results indicate this production strategy can provide similar bean yield as a conventional-production system with proper management of the rye, reduce potential of soil erosion and control weeds.
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Authors: Gregory Endres, Hans Kandel, Michael Ostlie
Endres, G. Extension Cropping Systems Specialist, North Dakota State University, North Dakota, 58421
Kandel, H. Extension agronomist, NDSU, North Dakota, 58108
Ostlie, M. REC Director and agronomist, NDSU, North Dakota, 58421